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tv   [untitled]    January 31, 2012 2:00pm-2:30pm EST

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>> none. >> i'm sorry? >> none. >> none. well, so the only example of any safety concern with respect to that occurred in a laboratory or by ntsa? >> no. to be precise, the first one occurred in the field in a contractor -- i guess a contractor that did ntsa's, it was a test facility in wisconsin. and it -- we hit it with a severe side impact. and it sat alongside the road with three other vehicles. three weeks later, a fire occurred. and it took us a while not only to understand which vehicle started the fire and under what conditions, because it happened over a weekend. then we had to find the root cause. we had to dissemble the battery. you saw pictures of it. it was not all that easy to ascertain precisely what
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happened. subsequently, tests were conducted to try to simulate that again. you could have a bad test. >> sure. >> we ran tests. we could -- crashed it again. we could not replicate a fire with the same conditions. we didn't depower. we didn't do anything. >> well -- i was listening to the chairman of the full committee questioning you. and in the process of asking a question, he asserted some facts. i want to make sure that you either do or do not concur with his assertions. in light of this test, even though it hasn't been able to be replicated, we need to give special instructions for people so that it doesn't explode and blow up to, you know, if you're taken by a tow truck or put in a storage facility or a junk yard or even for that matter in a garage because there is reason to be concerned. what is your comment on that? >> i think the colonel of the
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issue is what do we do in a post crash, multiday, multiweek environment if we did not depower the battery. i think the lesson learned is after a week to three weeks, and then we could not simulate in the real world the condition that we expect -- that we experienced after three weeks. we had to pull the battery out, pierce it and essentially this will be slight exaggeration, drench the battery in coolant and then a week later it occurred. you had -- it wasn't an explosion. that's been a little bit of hyperbole, i think. there was a fire. it smoldered for a while. it takes a while. and then it would burn. whether that occurred, even in a simulated laboratory extreme nonreal world environment, the ntsa initiated a formal investigation and we went to
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general quarters. >> and you as the ceo of gm are so concerned about this you went out and bought one yourself? >> i -- i bought one of the car that's was returned, yes, sir. >> thank you. last night the president referred to the lithium battery. if i recall, at the time we adopted the recovery act here in congress, before we made the investment in advance lithium battery research, the u.s. manufacturing share worldwide was something like 4% or 5%. and the projection is by next year it's going to be 40%. is that correct? is that your understanding?
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but it's expanded in the last three years? >> that's correct. >> briefly, gm after -- before and after the bailout, could you just refresh our memory in term of your world market share? >> our world market share today at the end of 2011 stands at right around 12%, roughly one out of every eight vehicles in the world is manufactured by gm, by gm or one of its affiliates through the end of 2011, the first time since '77 that we gained market share two consecutive years in a row. >> and you returned to number one in the world? >> yes, sir. >> i thank the chair. >> i thank the gentleman. real quick before i yield, just so i'm clear, the protocols prior to this investigation and this incident were -- and commonly understood, common sense, none naj were to drain
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the gas tank and to disconnect the smaller battery? >> in a conventional car, yes, sir. >> okay. so for an electric vehicle, the protocols were the same? disconnect the 12 volt, drain the gas tank, but do nothing with the larger lithium ion battery? >> it would auto mmatically disconnect from the circuitry. >> so the protocoled were the same. disconnect both batteries, disconnect the battery operation, drain the gas tank? i mean that was common knowledge? >> yes, but there -- i want to make sure i'm perfectly clear. >> i'm going to ask the next question. >> okay. that was my next question. so the protocols today are disconnect the battery, which entails both batteries, drain the gas tank and, in your words, depower the larger battery which means drain the coolant?
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>> no. >> tell me in layman -- >> discharge the battery. >> what does that mean? >> think of connecting a giant light bulb to that battery and just run it down. >> okay. got it. >> sorry for the inarticulation. >> thank you very much. and welcome to the committee. >> thank you. >> i would find it very difficult to imagine an america that did not make its own cars. so i am pleased that the president was able to report in his state of the union the progress that the car industry has done achieved in america. i'd like to quote one line. he said today general motors is back on top as the world's number one automaker. and a report i read last week said that there are over 700,000 jobs created by the auto
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industry now in america. i'd like to put that report in the record. i think that it's clear that this car that gm has made has been caught up in the middle of politics. and some members appear more interested in making wild allegations for political purposes than in recognizing a promising technological breakthrough. i'd like to ask you, and give me a yes or no answer, is it true the volt was first shown at a general motors electric vehicle concept at an international auto show in january of 2007, more than two years before the swearing in of president obama and the company's filing for bankruptcy? >> yes, i was shown at the detroit auto show. >> i'm just curious, how did you get here? did you fly? did you take a train? did you drive?
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how did you get to this hearing? >> i drove a volt. >> you drove a volt. okay. >> and can you tell us how the volt is selling and what is the customer feedback? >> it's rated from a customer satisfaction point of view it's rated as -- at the highest rate of any car has ever gotten, 93% of the people highly approve of the car that own it. it's the highest recording ever. >> and will the technology developed for the volt be used in other vehicles? >> there are derivatives that come out of our research and development and the practical application of the volt and other electric cars that will benefit other vehicles in our fleet, yes. and how many miles does the typical volt owner drive without having to fill up with gasoline? how long can you go? >> well, on one charge, we say 35, sometimes it's more. it's quite interestingly temperature dependent. if it's really cold or it's
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really hot, you do see some difference. in a typical day that's temperate, about 35 to 40 miles. now what we do have is 80% of the american public drives less than 40 miles or less per day. this car was designed for that mass market. i drove a test vehicle before we launched for three months. i put 25, roughly 2500 miles on it. i used two gallons of gas. our driving patterns were such that we didn't drive 50 and 60 miles in one run. >> so how often do you have to fill up with the volt? if you can get such mileage off of it? >> again, it depends on usage patterns. if you're driving 35, 40 miles a day, you may not have to fill up for months. >> wow. >> we have instances and testimonies on some of the blog that's people drive it 800, 900 miles. again if, you're driving 100 miles a day, you'll see it transition. it's really important to understand this car is always driven by an electric motor.
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the gas engine is relatively small. all it does -- there is no mechanical drag on the kbungs engine. all it does is charge the battery. >> okay. and what are your future plans for the volt? >> well, i think this has been a good exercise for us because it's gotten everything out on the table. i think we've got a fair hearing. we're going to start exporting it with the enhancements that we're implementing now not only to europe but to asia, china in particular. >> if everything you say is true about the volt, can you get such mileage, you can drive for months if not driving that long, that you cannot fill up two months, once every two months and you get such great mileage and safety and so forth, why aren't other manufacturers of cars copying the volt? why aren't they building their own version of the volt?
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do you own the technology? is this technology american owned? >> yes. >> is it patent? >> yes. >> so you can hold on to it. >> yes, for 17 years. >> we might be able to export something. >> we are exporting. >> and, you know, this fire scenario that we've been talking about, it seems to me that you have responded to it in a very unlike gm way. no offense, but not like a big corporation but responding very fast to provide a solution. and has this fire happened in any other real life accident or other accident? >> we have 25 million miles driven on the cars that are in the public domain. there's been no documented case of any fire of any nature on the volt. >> and i've heard that some of the consumer groups and watchdog
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groups have given you ratings. could you give us what those ratings are and the safety watch groups? can you elaborate on these standards, i guess, or -- >> we're rated five star not only by ntsa, by the international institute of highway safety for occupancy safety. so both five stars and the arena we want. the consumer reports says that it's at the highest rating in the customer satisfaction, highest they've ever seen. when we were first notified of a formal investigation, we offered loaner cars or the opportunity to sell a car back to the company. and at the same time, we embark upon a very aggressive and active effort to come up with an enhancement to the protection of
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the battery which we have done and that will be implemented over the next couple of weeks and months. >> i would like to commend you and your company for this innovative addition to the world. and i congratulate you on moving in the right direction to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. and eliminating, i would say, harmful pollutants in the air. i am proud of my vote and support the bailout of the automotive industry. i'm very proud of you and your company. thank you for being here today. >> thank you. >> gentleman from -- >> will the chairman yield for a moment? >> you know, when i was in the lounge there, i saw my friend mr. kelly put the slide referring to the e-mails between gm and the department of treasury, you know, concluding that u.s. government was somehow
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running gm. now i just want my friend to know that, you know, on this side we really looked at it very deeply. i wrote a letter dated june 29, 2011. i'm guessing you may not have had a chance to see it. because what this effectively did was to debunk any collusion of a letter to the chairman. i would specifically cite pages three and four and six and seven. this hasn't been -- when i wrote this letter, i haven't received any response that would indicate that there was a dispute as to what we said. we looked at this and effectively debunked it.
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>> i would point out, the e-mails are the e-mails. and when you have people in the administration telling people at the company how they should structure press release, how they should write things, i think that speaks for itself as well. >> if i may, to my friend mr. chairman, it's a totality and it's true to say the e-mails are the e-mails. however, there is no evidence of collusion between the gm and department of treasury to suggest that government is running gm. i would say, given the philosophy of some of my friends on this side of the aisle and that gm has had such success recently to assert that the government was running gm would probably create a feeling that the government is either more confident than you think it is or that gm is less competent
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than you think it is. i think either of those two assertions might be interesting to have to decipher. >> i think every american is pleased by the success of general motors. but that doesn't dismiss the fact that even today half of the board are approximately half of the board were selected by the administration to sit on the board, that the taxpayers that invested $50 billion in this company and that there are all kinds of incestives, tax breaks, et cetera, for people to purchase this product. those are the facts. >> the gentleman is correct. the gentleman is correct by that. but the e-mails were about the government's -- >> you talk about the totality of the situation. i want to make sure we saw the whole situation. >> my friend is correct in asserting how this thing was structured. i support it. i know some of my friends did not. but i just want to say that if you look at the e-mails, they were about the government's role in characterizing what the government was doing. i believe, not trying to direct gm.
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so i just -- i want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to present that. thank you. >> i would like to point out this issue. objection so entered. and i think -- >> if i co. >> mr. kelly gets the last word. >> i don't mean to have the last word. but, you know, we use this term the government's investment. we talk about this body made a decision. this is taxpayer money. we're not some benevolent monarchy that showers favors on people. we take it out of hard-working american taxpayers pockets and then we decide who gets it. i'm appalled by this attitude down here that somehow we have the ability to pick and choose winners and losers not with their own money but with taxpayer money. and then we say geez, you know what? we made a great decision for
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you, taxpayer. really? really? $50 billion. that's a b. that's a lot of money. in a town that throws around trillions like it doesn't matter, and it doesn't matter to them because it's not their money. i'm going to tell plu kucinich. we agree on a lot of things and entitled to our own opinions but we're not entitled to our own facts. the government has been involved in this far deeper than they ever should have been to begin with. mr. ackerson knows how to run gm. he has a history of running great companies. accident need somebody that never how to run the company to tell him how we're going to spend the money. i'm going to tell you, if you want to throw money, if you want to throw $7,500 in a tax incentive and then pennsylvania throw another $3,500 and another tax incentive when it's your money on the shelf and your product that has to turn because it's your dollars and you're damn careful about how you put that money. this is taxpayer money that is
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being used. no, i'm not going to yield. i have to tell you something, there is such a disconnect in this town with the way the real world works. general motors does not need the help of the taxpayers to subsidize thr caeir cars. you want to see that needle jump, you want to put thousands of people back to work? yeah, you can do it in a lot of different ways. you know what? stop taking it out of my wallet. and i'm deeply offended by the attitude down here that somehow this merry go round is going to continue to spin and there is no consequence. there are a lot of important things that happened, unintended consequences by people who never did it and don't have skin in the game and spending taxpayer dollars. that is ridiculous and that is something we have to stop doing. this has nothing to do with mr. ackerman or the gm. >> if i may, this hearing -- i thought was about the safety of
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the volt. it may have other dimensions. i want to tell mr. kelly, who is my friend, i did not vote for the bailout of the banks because i didn't want the government to be involved in picking winners and losers. now the american automotive industry was on the verge of collapse. and i felt, given the privacy of that american automotive industry to our strategic industrial base including automotive, steel and shipping the prudent thing to do would be to make an attempt to rescue it. gm's management has helped to conclude it. but, again, i don't see, and to my good friend, we have strong differen differences on this point. i really do respect you. i just think that the evidence of collusion that is being offered here hasn't been supported by the facts. and i, again, i respect you greatly. thank you. >> with that, we want to thank mr. ackerson. you're a busy man running a big company. we appreciate what you do and we appreciate you taking time to be
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with us this morning. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> all right. we'll quickly move to our third witness and if the staff can help us set that up. because we have to get out of here in about 15 minutes. coming up this afternoon at 3:00 eastern, we'll go live to the united nations in new york where security council meeting on violence in syria. secretary of state hillary clinton is expected to push the 22-member group's proposal for syrian presidential assad to step down in favor of a national unity government. that's according to a white house official who is not authorized to speak on the record. we'll bring that you meeting again starting at 3:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span3. of course, today primary day in florida. tonight, watch our live coverage of the results starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2.
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we'll have candidate speeches and your reaction by phone, facebook, and twitter. and throughout the day, read the latest from the candidates, updates from political reporters, and get viewer comments at more on tonight's political primary from today's washington journal. >> good morning, sally. >> good morning. thank you for being with us. first of all, tell us about how things are playing out right now. the latest polls are showing mitt romney with a lead. how important is that he wins versus wins by a significant margin? >> i think it's important that he wins. i think the polls show he will have a significant margin. although in florida, it's always difficult to predict what will happen, as you know. we have a history here of strange things happening on election day. we have to wait and see in
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several hours what happens. but i think the significance of florida is so great in this primary contest. we are the largest of the early primary states, the most diverse in temperatures of our electoral makeup. and we're also the first closed primary which means, of course, that only republicans can vote in the florida primary. so this will be a true test for the candidates of who republicans want to send to face president obama and who they want to see in the white house. >> we're hearing some talk about newt gingrich and how he's ranking among women, how they're perceiving him. there are five things to watch in florida. and they're asking how newt gingrich will be received by florida gop women. what is your read on that right now? >> i think he struggled here with women. there is a concern that, of course, the romney campaign has focused on over the last ten days since the south carolina primary that he's simply not effectible and he is erratic.
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and that shows up among women voters. you see him being challenged in that areament again, i think it's very difficult to know what the margin will be. we do anticipate a romney victory if the polls stay true. women are a significant portion of the electorate here. and certainly active in driving campaigns and turning out voters and volunteering for candidates. and so their vote matters. it will be interesting to see where this breaks down tonight. >> are you seeing it as a two-man race? >> i think so. my sense is santorum had a very strong debate in jacksonville at the last debate. i think he may overperform his numbers. and that will make it more difficult for gingrich to convince republicans that santorum should leave the race. if santorum does perform ahead of where he is polling, there is more of an argument that can be made that he should stay in the
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race longer, stay and go forward and see how he can do in the caucuses and primaries that are coming up in february. so we'll see. >> let's take a listen to newt gingrich, one of his most recent campaign ads. ♪ >> fraud? well, never mind. after a 3 1/2 year examination, the internal revenue service, bill clinton's irs, has issued an official finding, no violation of tax laws. critics said the course which was videotaped and widely distribute the was too political, a scheme to use a tax exempt educational foundation to promote a republican agenda and elect republican candidates. but in a 74-page memorandum, the irs said otherwise. "the course taught principles from american civilization that could be used by each american in every day life whether the
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person is a welfare recipient, head of a large corporation, or a politician." it said "the course was not biassed toward particular politicians, or a particular party." "the facts show the class was much more than a political platform." >> it turns out he was right. and those who accuse him of tax fraud were wrong. brooks jackson, cnn, washington. >> that was a campaign ad by newt gingrich. we're looking at a website now that's called tales of this is something that the gingrich campaign put out. it does some romney fact checking in their opinion and basically takes apart mitt romney for the sake of boosting newt gingrich. tell us what you make of this and some of the negative campaign ads, the tone that the debate has taken, sally bradshaw. >> first, don't you love the
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music in that ad? you hear that more in this kind of context than you would, i think, if you were watching it on television. i thought that was quite entertaining. one of the challenges, frankly, that newt has had coming into florida is that this is such a large state. it is so expensive to campaign here. we have ten media markets. we have a dedicated hispanic market. we have four million registered republican voters. that is so significant, particularly in comparison to the other early contests, iowa, new hampshire, and south carolina. and so it's very expensive to play here. i think 1,000 points of television cost about a million and a half dollars statewide to run. so this is one of the challenges gingrich has faced. and there is a real question about whether his mom yentum in south carolina has been able to carry him through the last ten days of the primary contest. we saw it have an impact in the beginning days when the shift
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from south carolina to florida occurred. because the romney campaign had greater resources, they were able to stabilize the race and begin to turn it around. you are now seeing gingrich use some of the resources that came in as a result of his victory in south carolina. is it too little too add? those are negative ads. reacting and responding to ads quickly and getting back to your message works. and that's in an advertising capacity. but is it too little too late? gingrich really did not purchase television advertising here until, i want to say thursday or friday of last week. and that may be too late to get messaging to voters. so although i think his ads are effective and humor is used, it's very questionable about what impact they will have in term of the numbers we'll see later today. >> sally bradshaw is a florida gop political strategist. she's lived in the state for
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over 20 years. and she's served as an adviser to mississippi governor haley bar bore and his political action committee exploring his role in national politics last year. she was also the member of governor rick scott's transition and advisory panel and she served as a senior adviser to governor mitt romney's 2008 presidential campaign, responsible for overseeing florida primary operations. she also works for governor jeb bush and has had a variety of other roles in florida and national politics. the numbers to call if you would like to join the conversation, 20 #-727-0001. if you are a republican, 20 #-737-0002. independent voters 202-628-0205. before we get to the phones, sally bradshaw, tell us about your involvement with mitt romney's campaign four years ago. you are not coming out and supporting him this time? >> well, there is a secret ballot. i'm not working for any candidate in any


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